There are some who might consider that it is a tad late for someone in his 40s to take mountain biking. Aside from being a very physically taxing activity, mountain biking also poses danger to riders from spill overs, getting blind-sided, or tumbling over unfamiliar terrain.
For me, however, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks.
So there I was one fine day in October joining a few friends and cousins on my very first mountain bike ride. I was on a borrowed bike and adjustments had to be made. I made sure I had a helmet, comfortable clothes, a water bottle full of water, and of course my shades to protect my eyes.
We set our course in a nice but still challenging route in my hometown of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija, going to the neighboring towns of Palayan City. Our destination will be Tanawan, a nice, uphill spot where locals often go to enjoy a panoramic view of surrounding towns and the lush green carpet of ricefields.
We rolled out early and since most of us are newbies, we rode at a leisurely pace. The cool, early morning breeze made for a very relaxing ride as we passed by quaint houses, farms, orchards, and endless ricefields spanning through the horizon.
We passed by the military reserve of Fort Magsaysay and marveled at surrounding hills and valleys. The roads are almost empty save for the occasional vehicle or tricycle. Good thing we rode off early.
As a first-timer, I enjoyed the ride immensely, and often, I find myself lagging behind the group because I was really taking my time to enjoy the sights and sounds.
The ride was enjoyable that I almost did not notice that we have already logged in a significant number of kilometers (for newbies) and that we are almost at our destination.
We had our first pit stop at a nice sari-sari store by the road. We stayed longer that we should have because my uncle knows the owner of the store and the customary ‘kumustahan’ had to be made between friends.
Although we we’re not able to ride the last kilometer or two going to Tanawan (the road was just too steep for us), it was a very satisfying ride that is worth repeating.
We stayed for almost an hour taking pictures, eating our snacks and just enjoying the view at Tanawan while our bikes are “parked” near a nipa hut atop a gently sloping cliff.
The ride back was even faster, because there were downhills that allowed us to go a bit faster. The end of the day was indeed satisfying and all of us are looking forward to another ride.